Updated Thu, Sep 27, 2012 3:16 pm
Headed into a road matchup with Belpre Week 6, the Eastern Eagles are in a very different position in the TVC-Hocking now than they were at this time last season.
Coach David Tennant’s football team is 3-1 in four conference games and currently sits in third place in the TVC-Hocking behind perennial powers Wahama and Federal Hocking.
Last season, the Eagles only won three games altogether, and through five games, didn’t have a prayer of contending in the league. But this year, things are different.
“Things are finally starting to click,” Tennant said when asked about the way his team is playing.
The Eagles have won three of their last four games in dominating fashion: a 47-6 win over Miller, a 39-6 win at Waterford and a 62-6 victory over South Gallia last week. But those three wins are sandwiched around a 47-7 loss at the hands of Wahama in Week 3. Coach Tennant recalls that his team played well early in the matchup but lost focus and let the game get away before halftime.
Eastern has a matchup with Belpre this week before heading into its tougher games down the stretch of the season. But while this may appear to be an easy week for Eastern on paper, Belpre is at home for the game, and the Golden Eagles have some offensive firepower. Their 48-13 win over Southern on September 7 snapped a 13-game losing streak that dated back to 2010. Furthermore, Belpre managed to put up 20 points on Wahama, the second highest point total given up by the first-place White Falcons this season.
“(Belpre has) some explosive players,” said Tennant. “We have to play smart because if not, they are going to bite us.”
Belpre is led on offense by dual-threat quarterback Tavian Miller and running back Manny Tullius. The duo combined for six touchdowns against Southern and carries the offense by being involved in nearly every play.
So to prepare for this game and what will likely be a tough stretch moving forward, Tennant had his team hit a little harder and practice with more energy
“We haven’t been healthy for about three weeks now,” he said. “So we turned it up in practice this week.”
Looking ahead, Eastern still has games against a red-hot Trimble team that is averaging 39 points per game through five games and a stingy Federal Hocking team that is only giving up 11 points per game through five contests. Tennant harped on the importance of playing focused, fundamentally sound football this week before Eastern takes on the tougher teams in its conference. But nonetheless, he believes his team is capable of playing at a high level and accomplishing a lot this season.
“We have a lot of things to fix before we get where we want to be,” he said. “And that’s the playoffs.”